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Raptors 84, Nets 98 – Box

Sundiata Gaines, Gerald Green, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Shelden Williams, Kris Humphries. This is what the Raptors lost to on a back-to-back last night in New Jersey. Don’t feel too bad, though, it comes part and parcel when supporting a bad team which is playing another bad team: somebody has to win. In a just world, both teams would’ve end up with a L and the post-games interviews would’ve had players from both sides lamenting lost opportunities. As things stand, the Nets win the game and the Raptors are once again forced to pick up on the positives, at least whatever positives you can take out of losing to the Nets.

Starting this one off you got the sense nobody quite wanted to play and were more interested to see how the cross-town Knicks were doing after Mike D’Antoni got firesigned, but unfortunately NBA rules stipulate that a scheduled game must be played by the scheduled opponents. DeMar DeRozan started off by hitting a couple elbow jumpers which setup his 5-15 night perfectly. DeRozan’s smart, it’s best to get those made field goals out of the way early before you go on a “run” of bricks. Nothing more to add here, he was being guarded by DeShawn Stevenson at times, and some other black dude also checked him. Let’s not get lost in the details, though, because the larger point is that it took him 15 shots to score 12 points.

The energy was low in the building and neither team took much of an initiative early, and it wasn’t when MarShon Brooks busted a couple ankles, and Kris Humphries threw down a couple dunks after eluding Bargnani that this game “picked up”, and by that I mean the people in the front row took a break from checking the Knicks score on their iPhones to notice that, lo and behold, there was a game happening right in front of them! The Raptors had their positives early, Amir Johnson was hovering around the paint and combined with Davis for those big-to-big passes that makes a coach want to wank. James Johnson had a great recovery block on Brooks, and Bargnani looked crisp on a possession here and there. At the end of one it was the Knicks 25 and the Blazers 12…er…I mean, it was 22-19 for the Raptors.

A Bargnani/Barbosa inspired run in the second gave the Raptors a 9-point lead, and you started thinking whether the Nets would consider forfeiting early and catch the fourth quarter of that Knicks game. Other than getting consistently outrebounded (bad game by Bargnani – only 2 in 33 min), the Raptors were hanging in there, partially because of Baylesstricity’s (thanks to whoever came up with that one) 8 assists and the fact that NJ was coughing the ball up like a first-timer on the gravity bong. Halftime score was 46-41 Raptors. I’m thinking that if the Raptors don’t get hit by the 4-games-in-5-nights fatigue, and one of them gets hot, this is there for the taking.

They started off 0-6 in the third quarter, and the Nets picked up on the gifted momentum. Sundiata Gaines got his chance to got at his old club, and Gerald Green came out of nowhere to start scoring at will, rising often over his shorter counterpart, Barbosa. Kris Huphries head-faked Amir Johnson so the latter left his feet, Amir Johnson’s response? Flagrant foul. The quarter also saw the two sides of Bayless, the first being the mediocre, streaky player that is liable to hit tough shots, and the second being the mediocre, streaky player that is liable to turn the ball over on any given possession by forgetting that there are four other guys on his team. The Raptors managed to score only 15 points in the third quarter, which is 10 less than the number of pictures in this 25 hottest pictures of Kim Kardashian article. Nets by 7 entering the fourth, Raptors offense going cold, shooting only 37% by the end of the third (38% for the game, Nets shot 48%).

Remember against Cleveland when Barbosa and Bargnani took over and won the game for us? It didn’t happen last night because Barbosa is a role player who can’t be counted on doing that, and Bargnani is on his way to possibly being that player, but isn’t there yet. In total, DeRozan, Barbosa, and Bargnani scored six points in the fourth. The offense went to tatters because nobody could create a shot for themselves or for anyone else, leaving Bayless that task. He fared well, had 7 points in the fourth to touch up on a tidy 16/10 night, but it wasn’t nearly enough. James Johnson tried to get some on his own, but asking him to create offense is like asking someone to assemble Ikea furniture – without the manual. Yeah, you might end up with a table at the end, but when you see a wooden piece and two screws still in your hand at the end of it, you’re probably thinking this wasn’t a good idea. Gary Forbes tried to influence the game using his patented technique of fooling other players into thinking he’s a ball-boy, only to back-cut for a layup. It didn’t quite work and he had an ill-timed turnover early in the fourth, which led to a break…things just didn’t go right.

Overall, bad offensive games from Bargnani (10pts, 2reb, 4-13FG) and DeRozan (12pts, 5reb, 5-15FG), shockingly good performances from Humphries (16pts, 21reb) and Green (26pts, 9-13FG), means the Raptors lose before their day off which is followed by another back-to-back.

Shit that wouldn’t fit anywhere else in this post:

  • Gerald Green is five times the better athlete than DeRozan
  • Why does Bryan Colangelo not get any criticism for giving up on Kris Humphries?
  • Is it really harder for taller people to hit FTs that shorter ones?
  • What does Matt Devlin trying to convey when he says, “Dwane Casey yelling go-go-go”?
  • Loved it when Devlin started ripping on Bayless for picking up a technical, only to realize midway it wasn’t on him
  • Bargnani’s reverses are pretty sweet
  • Ed Davis now does that Garnett thing where he goaltends any shot which the opponent shoots during a break. My reaction.
  • In case you’re wondering why I didn’t mention Deron Williams, it’s because he’s injured
  • Bargnani had a hard foul on Green, it drew a lot of praise from Devlin
  • Awkward moment when Leo had to say the following when describing player readiness in his day, and how there was no time to develop in the NBA: “You gotta be ready to go or you’re out”

If this post didn’t cut it for you, there’s something else coming down later in the day…from Tom, I think.